Theodore “Fodor” Glava; a pale, lanky, Transylvanian immigrant came to America as many others did—seeking a better life. But all indications are that he led a modest, if not impoverished life as a coal miner, before dying in the midst of the 1918 flu epidemic. He, possibly along with another person, was buried in the municipal cemetery in Lafayette, Colorado, north of the edge of town. It wasn’t until after his death that Glava gained notoriety.
Buried in what would have been the poorest section of the old graveyard, Glava’s grave was hastily carved, and inscribed with his birthplace, year of death, and a few other words, among them “trandofir,” the Romanian word for rose.
Transylvania, where Glava originally came from, is now synonymous with Vlad the Impaler, Count Dracula, and vampires galore. Though not much is known about Glava’s life, the mention of Transylvania on his gravestone spurred rumors that he was a vampire. It is thought that a tall, pale, lanky man from that region would be an easy target for untrusting settlers, stoking rumors, or attempting to explain away natural happenings with superstition.
Local lore says that some townspeople dug up the grave and found blood by Glava’s mouth, his teeth seeming larger than normal, and his nails still growing. (Even if true, these are all natural parts of the decay that sets in after death.) The settlers drove a stake through his heart and reburied him.
Now a tree, unlike any other around it grows straight through the grave plot. Some say the tree grew from the wooden stake, and the red rose bushes nearby grew from his fingernails.
Rumors even persist to this day that residents from the local area see a mysterious figure walking around late at night. So who is to say if he was a vampire or nothing more than an innocent man caught up in wild superstition. If you do go looking for yourself, bring Fodor a small gift, a coin, a trinket or maybe even a bouquet of dead roses… just leave the garlic at home.
Know Before You Go
The grave is in the current Lafayette Cemetery right by the city park. Located in the northern side of the middle row of graves. It’s easy to miss as it’s a flat headstone. Please be respectful as it is an active cemetery.